Giving a knife as a gift is supposed to be symbolic of cutting the ties of friendship.
People have been known to give a coin to the giver in return so that it technically isn’t a gift.
It occurred to me that I’ve been given three knives in my life which, after typing that, sounds like three too many.
I believe enough time has passed for me to conclusively state whether knives foretell the demise of a friendship.
This Nepalese knife was a gift from my friend Ben (who also features here)
Ben lived in Kathmandu for a couple of years. I asked him why he bought it, expecting to hear some profound reasoning but he just said that it was one of the finer generic gifts from Nepal. He added: ‘I used one to cleave bubble wrap from a mattress and it was one of the most pleasurably visceral experiences of my life.’
State of our friendship: Solid.
2. Robert Welch steak knives
These were a wedding gift from a school friend.
State of our friendship: Very poor. At the wedding, the individual got so drunk that the got caught up in my dress, tore it and photobombed pictures of me with my family. There are some actions that fall into the category of unforgivable. On reflection, perhaps there are only two: treating a wedding reception like a night at the student union is one. Ripping someone’s wedding dress is another.
3. Cake knife
A wedding gift from friends of my husband’s parents.
State of our friendship: Unchanged. Our friendship level has remained completely constant because we rarely see the couple. Also, cake knives aren't designed to have the hewing strength, of say, a meat cleaver, so if knives are a symbol of cutting off a relationship then it would be a very soft friendship for a cake knife to do damage.
My findings are mixed. I conclude that you shouldn't worry about it. If you want to give a knife, give a knife.
Hopefully your friendship is stronger than superstition but if you want to ask for a penny in return, go for it but just make sure you do it in a safe environment where your intentions cannot be misconstrued (i.e. don’t brandish a knife and demand cash).
Before purchasing a knife, consider a spoon. An elderly couple (in their nineties) who live in the village where I grew up and have known me since I was a baby, gave me a Welsh love spoon when I got married. It’s lovely.
While typing this, I realise that our friendship has been the longest lasting of them all.